Slide in energy prices

“Prices of renewable energy are sliding down so fast that in a few years it will be more cost-efficient than produced of any of traditional fossil fuels,” experts of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) came to this conclusion in their Report on Renewable Power Generation Costs, presented at the 8th Assembly of the organization.

IRENA analytics had reviewed in their Report activities of more than 15000 facilities all over the world; altogether, those produce more than 1,000 GWt of electrical energy. Experts came to the conclusion that presently, most of the RESs projects “come up” to the price of about ȼ4 per one kilowatt hour, while the weighted average global cost of RES energy, i.e., average estimated production cost of one kilowatt hour of energy with account of the entire life cycle of a power station including all investments, costs, and profits (Levelised Cost of Energy, LCOE) amounts to ȼ6.


The weighted average global cost in the solar power production for the period of 2010 – 2017 went down by 73%: in 2017, it went down to ȼ10 per kilowatt hour. During the same period, the LCOE quota in the onshore energy production went down by 23%. The weighted average global cost of new bio and geothermal energy produced at facilities commissioned in 2017 amounts to ȼ7 per kilowatt hour.


Solar photovoltaic modules have become significantly cheaper: since 2010, their price lost about two thirds; this made them a lot more accessible for private use.


In developed countries, solar power production has become cheaper than nuclear one.  Cost of power production with utilization of fossil fuel in the countries of the Group of Twenty varies from ȼ5 to ȼ17 per kilowatt hour (depending on the country and type of fuel).


By 2019, the “best” projects in the solar and wind power production will provide electric energy at the cost of ȼ3 or less, analysts claim. Thanks to reduction of RESs costs, by 2020, the “green power” production will become more accessible than fossil fuels, while solar photovoltaic and wind generation facilities will produce the cheapest electricity, IRENA forecasts.  

Boisterous development of renewable energy sources and global competitiveness in this sphere lead to dissemination of best practices, technology enhancement, reduction of project risks, and increase of efficiency with previously unthinkable rates, experts of the International Renewable Energy Agency believe.  At that, each doubling of accumulated total capacity, for, for example, the shore wind, investment costs go down by 9%, while the produced electricity becomes cheaper by15%.


RF Minister of Energy Alexey Teksler was representing Russia at the 8th IRENA Assembly, where the Paper on Renewable Power Generation Costs was presented. During his presentation  at the ministers’ round table, he said that the major outcome of 2017 was that the renewable energy in Russia had got established as an industry.  By his words, yet quite recently, Russia had no competency in the RES sphere but hydro power production, while a major step forward was made within a few years.

“Russia has established its own industry in solar production practically from the scratch: from researches to production of solar panels and construction of generating stations,” Deputy Ministry of Energy told. “During 2017, more capacities of renewable energy sources had been built than during the two preceding years.”  

Among the core achievements, Alexey Teksler pointed out the start of production of the new generation of solar panels on the basis of a national heterostructure-based technology. “Russia started to produce modules with the performance factor amounting to 22%, which puts them by this index into the world top three by efficiency in mass production.  This year, the plan is to increase production capacities of the plant from 160 MWt to 250 MWt.”

Alexey Teksler expressed his confidence in that the industry of wind power generation will be established within the next three years. By his words, major Russian and international investors came in the wind power production in 2016-2017; they undertook commitments on the development of the technology and production facilities in Russia.    


In the meantime, by the IRENA’s data, global investment in RESs since 2013 exceeded $1 zillion; during this period, the industry provided for nearly 10 million jobs. In the opinion of IRENA analysts, the expected cost of the “green” energy will very soon turn into a major issue for market positions of traditional types of fuels and countries which export hydro carbons, found their budgets on oil and gas sales, and bet on coal, oil, and gas.


“Conclusions of international experts on the prospects of RESs development confirm the essential necessity of shifting the accents for the Russian power production,” Olga Senova, RSEU Climate Secretariat, believes. “In their Position, activists of public environmental organizations stand for reorientation of funding from fossil fuels in favor of RESs and energy efficiency. The development strategy should not include increase of NPSs and major lowland HPSs in the energy balance of the country but correspond to the global transfer to no-carbon power production by the middle of the 21st century…”